Address List Quality

The Postal Service and mailing industry have continued to improve procedures and tools for validating and updating address lists. Best practices for updating addresses include using pre-mailing tools like Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certification, NCOALink processing, and Move Update standards, and post-mailing tools such as ACS and OneCode ACS. Pilot testing has begun for the Electronic Product Fulfillment (EPF) program to ensure that addressing products are made available sooner to subscribers, ideally cycling changes more quickly to mail in the mailstream. Significant cost reduction is also available with full-deployment of EPF by eliminating the cost of producing and mailing CD and DVD updates to subscribers.

Working together, mailing industry and postal experts upgraded the CASS processing software to enable mailers to improve the accuracy of addressing and sorting data in mailing lists. The provision of the Delivery Point Validation as a quality tool continues to demonstrate improvement in mailer address quality. Data compiled about the accuracy of mailer address information shows a 2.5 percent improvement in mailer address quality over the past year. This improvement of mailer address quality increases automation compatibility, especially barcoding at the delivery point level. Customers can correct non-validated addresses using AEC or AEC II, an enhancement to AEC that sends unresolved addresses to delivery offices for resolution.

The NCOALink product makes COA information available to mailers to help reduce undeliverable mailpieces before mail enters the mailstream. The NCOALink processing allows mailers to match their mailing list data against COA data maintained by the Postal Service. If a match is made with the name and old address information in the NCOALink file during the processing, the software provides the current move information (new address or undeliverable status) to update the mailing list. The number of addresses processed by NCOALink increased 1.51 percent (9.7 billion) over the prior year.

Move Update standards, applied before a mailing is created or enters the mailstream, also reduce UAA mail. Address records used for all Standard Mail and automation-rate and presort-rate First-Class Mail mailings must incorporate address changes within 95 days prior to the mailing date. Customers have several options to meet these standards including NCOALink, FASTforward (a commercial MLOCR software application), ACS and OneCode ACS, and ancillary service endorsements without ACS.

The number of pieces processed on FASTforward increased by 8.5 percent (387 million) over the prior year. A strategy was announced to the industry of the intent to retire FASTforward by June 30, 2012. The strategy includes a phased approach: (1) on June 30, 2009, the Postal Service ceased providing new FASTforward hardware systems; (2) on June 30, 2010, the Postal Service will cease providing FASTforward hardware support for Postal Service-supplied hardware; and (3) on June 30, 2011, the Postal Service will cease accepting new FASTforward licensees. Existing customers will continue to receive data until the specified retirement date or they migrate to another system, whichever comes first. Third-party providers will continue to provide FASTforward-type technology to support the mailing industry.

The Postal Service continues to increase value of address correction services provided using the Intelligent Mail barcode. The ACS program, consisting of traditional ACS, OneCode ACS. and Full Service ACS saw a 13 percent increase overall in the number of records delivered to customers using these electronic methods to acquire feedback about their UAA mail. This includes new volume of 18.5 million records in Full Service, and an increase of 20 million records in OneCode ACS. This information allows customers to better manage the quality of their mailing lists and improves the timely delivery of their mail.